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-   -   Sidewalk bicycling (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/100823-sidewalk-bicycling.html)

TransitBiker 04-12-14 02:49 AM

Where I live, sidewalks are pedestrian only by law. I don't know why anyone would want to ride on a sidewalk, there's no space, there can be gaps on the sides, and generally tend to be an obstacle course.

JoeyBike 04-15-14 04:14 PM

A million and a half views for this tread. Sidewalks? Really? That many people care?

I guess many folks think of some bicycle messenger or sushi delivery guy in SOHO terrorizing the sidewalk citizenry in a town where people actually walk on the sidewalks. What I picture in my mind are thousands of miles of smooth concrete through suburbia keeping me off of the 8-lane highway for a few blocks on my way to Office Depot, or the sidewalk in front of my home that I jump on for the length of two houses to get to my corner. Sidewalks that go almost totally unused by anyone else other than some immigrant workers on Wall-mart fully sprung mountain bikes and the occasional housekeeper making her way from the bus stop to some McMansion up the side street. With a little courtesy it is a snap to safely avoid such persons when encountered.

I see some sidewalks as an untapped cycling resource. Other sidewalks would be hateful cycling suicide almost instantly. Those hateful ones I avoid. The "good" ones that serve as unplanned bike paths for five or six cyclists each day and three or four walkers are regular planned additions to my bike routes often saving me from going around the block needlessly or giving a couple of hundred Suburbans a free shot at me curbside when there is a perfectly usable piece of pavement just five feet away and going in the same direction.

Now I am not saying that sidewalk riding does not take some extra thought. Actually, there is an art to it. You gotta realize when you take to the sidewalk almost anywhere you are giving up your "right of way" to all vehicles at cross streets and driveways. Yes, when you get to that McDonald's drive through entrance or exit you might want to plan on yielding to a few cars turning in or out. But for any cyclist with a brain and a capacity for cognitive thought, that is not a huge stretch, nor a deal breaker.

So cycling on the sidewalk may be illegal in some places, but we are certainly NOT going to Hell for doing it properly.

genec 04-26-14 07:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by BOGEE (Post 1083123)
It is against the law in LA County and believe in California to ride your bicycle on a sidewalk let alone in the wrong direction. Anyway, it is way better on the road.

While this may be true... I wonder how often someone is stopped for riding a bike on a sidewalk? We do know that occasionally LEOs stop people for riding bikes on the road... for a variety of usually false reasons.

TranceLov3 05-03-14 02:33 PM

In Estonia I've never seen anyone, even the police, have any problems with Bicyclers riding on sidewalks.

TransitBiker 05-04-14 06:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeyBike (Post 16674076)
A million and a half views for this tread. Sidewalks? Really? That many people care?

I guess many folks think of some bicycle messenger or sushi delivery guy in SOHO terrorizing the sidewalk citizenry in a town where people actually walk on the sidewalks. What I picture in my mind are thousands of miles of smooth concrete through suburbia keeping me off of the 8-lane highway for a few blocks on my way to Office Depot, or the sidewalk in front of my home that I jump on for the length of two houses to get to my corner. Sidewalks that go almost totally unused by anyone else other than some immigrant workers on Wall-mart fully sprung mountain bikes and the occasional housekeeper making her way from the bus stop to some McMansion up the side street. With a little courtesy it is a snap to safely avoid such persons when encountered.

I see some sidewalks as an untapped cycling resource. Other sidewalks would be hateful cycling suicide almost instantly. Those hateful ones I avoid. The "good" ones that serve as unplanned bike paths for five or six cyclists each day and three or four walkers are regular planned additions to my bike routes often saving me from going around the block needlessly or giving a couple of hundred Suburbans a free shot at me curbside when there is a perfectly usable piece of pavement just five feet away and going in the same direction.

Now I am not saying that sidewalk riding does not take some extra thought. Actually, there is an art to it. You gotta realize when you take to the sidewalk almost anywhere you are giving up your "right of way" to all vehicles at cross streets and driveways. Yes, when you get to that McDonald's drive through entrance or exit you might want to plan on yielding to a few cars turning in or out. But for any cyclist with a brain and a capacity for cognitive thought, that is not a huge stretch, nor a deal breaker.

So cycling on the sidewalk may be illegal in some places, but we are certainly NOT going to Hell for doing it properly.

It is my understanding that in many/most states and many towns & cities any cyclists using sidewalk legally must dismount to cross roads, is this true? Where i am and surrounding towns I've only experienced no bikes on sidewalks, so i'm not familiar....

- Andy

daihard 05-04-14 10:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TransitBiker (Post 16726621)
It is my understanding that in many/most states and many towns & cities any cyclists using sidewalk legally must dismount to cross roads, is this true? Where i am and surrounding towns I've only experienced no bikes on sidewalks, so i'm not familiar....

Here in Seattle, we are allowed to operate bicycles on the sidewalk. No need to dismount when using crosswalks, either. However, drivers don't stop for you when you're waiting at an intersection on your bike, even if you're at a marked crosswalk. In that case, dismounting may work better.

TransitBiker 05-04-14 11:25 AM

The car not stopping is probably one reason we have the laws here.

I wonder if there have been any lawsuits involving this. Here kids can ride on sidewalk & cars have to yield at crosswalks.

I like your quote. I've observed it to be true, especially insofar as topic at hand..

- Andy

Nycycle 05-21-14 10:13 AM

Dont ride on the side walk here, my wife will run you down in her car, she hates bicycles

daihard 05-21-14 10:18 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nycycle (Post 16778817)
Dont ride on the side walk here, my wife will run you down in her car, she hates bicycles

Do you find it hard to be with a spouse who hates bicycles?

Nycycle 05-21-14 10:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daihard (Post 16778836)
Do you find it hard to be with a spouse who hates bicycles?

Yes, should you want to know why I do, you will have to wait for me to write a book.

jade408 05-29-14 11:06 PM

Used to be staunchly anti-sidewalk for bicyclists until I got my bike. The path home for me (the one with the most bike lanes) is a little iffy for approximately the last 3-4 blocks. My street is striped for sharrows, but the bike lanes are about 3-4 blocks away. Block #1 is a low traffic street most hours of the day (it is busy during the AM commute with people heading to the freeway, but empty for most of the day otherwise. This block isn't a big deal. The next block is where it gets tricky. Leading up to that street is a very weird 5-way intersection on a major thoroughfare (6 lanes, with cars frequently going 40+). Right after I got my bike, I attempted to bike the one block to the bike lane, which requires a right turn. The intersection is also a bus stop. Well it was really scary, and I made a pact not to do that again (unless it is a quiet Sunday). When I am headed home, the other side of the street is worst, on the up note there is a left turn arrow (which hypothetically I wold use). The problem is the turn arrow is pretty short, only allowing 3-4 cars and the light cycle is really long. So the cars are not going to be patient enough to wait for people on bikes.

When "leaving home" I take the parallel street for a block, and that leaves me with 100-200 feet of sidewalk until the bus stop. When "returning home" I don't always have the energy to use the same route (it is a steep hill in the other direction, it is more like a dip, and when you finish the street you have a semi-blind corner. Cars are infrequent, but they tend to speed to catch the light.). So I decided to take the sidewalk for that block. The corner with the bus stop can be a little busy, there is a bar on the corner with lots of loitering from 5pm on. But otherwise the sidewalk isn't heavily used at all, particularly at night when I tend to go home. I compromise by pedaling pretty slowly, just a bit faster than walking pace, so I don't blow by any pedestrians and catch them off guard. This feels a lot safer than navigating the busy bike-lane free street.

daihard 05-29-14 11:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Nycycle (Post 16778880)
Yes, should you want to know why I do, you will have to wait for me to write a book.

Once you do, please reserve a copy for me. With your autograph. :D

dippitydoo 06-29-14 10:08 AM

I actually sidewalk bicycle SOMETIMES. I would be a liar if I said some roads still give me gears. I haven't mastered riding next to a car thats about a foot away yet.

hermanchauw 07-27-14 07:56 AM

You can claim riding on the road is safer UNTIL you are almost hit a by a car.

Alex_is_emo 08-10-14 04:53 PM

I ride on the sidewalk when there's a ton of cars on the road. Seriously, where I live, go out on the road on a bike during rush hour and you're suicidal. Semi trucks and cars fly by. I've tried it once. Won't do it again. Cars will honk their horns at you, and sometimes yell at you. A semi passed me once with about a foot or less room. I was like oh crap this is a bad idea and got right back on the sidewalk.
Usually there aren't too many people walking on the sidewalk so you don't have to worry about that where i live.

Now when traffic is less "why I ride at night most of the time" I use the main road simply because it's smoother, and cars can actually move over when they see you.

HBxRider 09-03-14 05:17 PM

I cycle about 2,000 miles a year on the streets. The only collision I've ever had was when I was hit by a car while riding on the sidewalk. Old lady in a sports car not paying attention. There's just too many people pulling out of parking lots that become a hazard. Too many blind spots for those drivers. Too many obstacles like crowded bus stops, electrical boxes, poles, abandoned shopping carts, etc. In the scenario where I got hit in the sidewalk, there was a bike lane I should have used instead.

There are a couple scenario's where i'll go on the sidewalk:

1) It's late at night, and the sidewalk has very few pedestrians, and cars passing through it. Late at night, there's more chance of DUI drivers, or cars full of teenagers that like to mess with cyclists. I've been hit with eggs, bottles of beer, and have been threatened, just while minding my own business, all these incidents happened at night. After dark I like to distance myself from cars as much as possible. 4 cyclists have been killed in my city this year, two days ago it was a DUI driver on the same block I ride in.

2) If I'm on a street that has very heavy traffic, and the street has no bike lane, no shoulder, and the car lane is less than 8' wide. I would rather go on the sidewalk than overtake a lane. In the area where I live, drivers almost never see cyclists take lanes, and the few times I have done that, they became confused and enraged and blared their horn at me even though they had another open lane to use. They simply don't understand the concept of taking a lane, or the reason why it's done. It's not worth it if there's a sidewalk I can use.

I don't agree than using a sidewalk is always the less safe option 100% of the time. I think you have to judge the situation for yourself after considering the factors.

Things like how wide the sidewalk is, and how much car and foot traffic are along those sidewalks are things that need to be taken into consideration.

sunnevershines 09-22-14 09:43 PM

Both times I was hit on my bike I was either on sidewalk or transitioning from one to the other.....I steer clear of sidewalks when and where I can. 'nuff said.

northernlights 09-27-14 06:55 PM

Depends on the situation, but usually I'll ride on the street only if there's a protected bike lane, or to pass a group of pedestrians on a narrow sidewalk, or when I'm in low traffic residential areas. If I'm in an area that is popular with cyclists with a high number of cyclists riding on the street, and the car speed limit is low, then I will probably ride on the street. There is safety in numbers.

But I almost never ride on busy arterials. The roar of all that traffic speeding by you and the stress it creates is too much.

mcnabb100 11-07-14 11:32 AM

I almost never ride on the sidewalks in my area. It's actually illegal for adults to ride on the sidewalks where I live. The only time I ride on them is when the road has been milled. The speed limits are low downtown so I feel safer there than I do on the back roads.

keyven 11-21-14 12:57 AM

I ride on the sidewalks about 50/50. I think it's wholly dependent on your local traffic conditions and no one should judge others for choosing what suits them best. Unless you choose to ride on a busy sidewalk at 30mph, or along the side of the road holding up fellow cyclists at 10mph.

Mr. Hoopdriver 12-07-14 09:03 PM

I cycle on sidewalks about 10% of the time.
We have a 4 lane main street with far too narrow lanes, and it wouldn't be bad if folks followed the speed limit, but they add 20%.
So... I parallel Main as close as I can, hook up to it, then ride the pedestrian highway - always giving way to the bipeds.

italianstallion 12-20-14 09:28 PM

Almost had an incident from one bikers use of the sidewalk today. I was stopped in the traffic lane at the front of the line at a red light. I wanted to turn right. After the light turned green I began pedaling and proceeded to turn right. Just as I approahed the crosswalk while turning, a cyclist riding on the sidewalk whom I did not see pedaled across the crosswalk based on the crosswalk signal which signaled 'WALK.' We avoided a collision, but it left me wondering if I did something wrong.

daihard 12-20-14 10:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by italianstallion (Post 17404953)
Almost had an incident from one bikers use of the sidewalk today. I was stopped in the traffic lane at the front of the line at a red light. I wanted to turn right. After the light turned green I began pedaling and proceeded to turn right. Just as I approahed the crosswalk while turning, a cyclist riding on the sidewalk whom I did not see pedaled across the crosswalk based on the crosswalk signal which signaled 'WALK.' We avoided a collision, but it left me wondering if I did something wrong.

Are bicycles allowed on the sidewalk where it happened?

italianstallion 12-20-14 11:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by daihard (Post 17405051)
Are bicycles allowed on the sidewalk where it happened?

I could be wrong but I've never seen anything that would indicate it's illegal, which I guess means he has every right a pedestrian has in a crosswalk? When I was at the light he was not waiting at the curb, and when I started pedaling he wasn't in sight, but once I started turning he came into the crosswalk at a decent speed (at least 10mph I would say) which leads me to believe he was cruising up the sidewalk the entire time I was at the light and never had to slow up. So to me I feel like I was in the wrong, but at the same time this is one of those situations where riding on the sidewalk can put a bicyclist in a worse position than if they were just riding in the street.

daihard 12-20-14 11:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by italianstallion (Post 17405084)
I could be wrong but I've never seen anything that would indicate it's illegal, which I guess means he has every right a pedestrian has in a crosswalk? When I was at the light he was not waiting at the curb, and when I started pedaling he wasn't in sight, but once I started turning he came into the crosswalk at a decent speed (at least 10mph I would say) which leads me to believe he was cruising up the sidewalk the entire time I was at the light and never had to slow up. So to me I feel like I was in the wrong, but at the same time this is one of those situations where riding on the sidewalk can put a bicyclist in a worse position than if they were just riding in the street.

I agree. One could argue that when cyclists are allowed on the sidewalk, those yielding to the pedestrians should also be mindful of the cyclists who may be riding on the sidewalk much faster than the typical pedestrians walk, thereby causing a situation like the one you were in. Honestly though, I believe that cyclists riding on the sidewalk should maintain the speed comparable to that of those who walk or jog. I hardly ever ride on the sidewalk, but when I do and pass the pedestrians, I will always slow down to a crawl. And when I ride on a crossing, I will never jump onto it like the guy who scared you did.


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